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Wireless device safety&health concerns

2013-5-30 10:03:39

The University of Queensland is currently in the process of deploying over 3500 new Wireless Access Points (WAPs) across multiple UQ campuses. Predominately placed within building ceiling cavities, but also within offices, hallways, on roofs and even mounted on light poles, they form an important part of UQ’s ability to supply staff and students with the network connectivity expected of a leading educational institution.
Because of our extensive use of wireless technology, the University of Queensland would like to address the issues of health and safety in relation to use of and proximity to Wi-Fi (802.11n) technology.
WAPs work by way of short range two way radio communications (commonly called Wi-Fi) with appropriate devices (for example laptops) – sending and receiving data to allow access to networks and the internet.
"Wi-Fi’'was first used in 1991, and used commercially in 1999. It transmits data in the same way that a radio does, simply at a slightly higher (faster) frequency, and is just as safe to use. It is the same frequency (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz) that is used in Bluetooth and many home entertainment systems.
Generally speaking, mobile phones and other low power portable devices are designed to operate within 20cm of the human body. Larger wireless devices such as desktop computers and WAPs are designed to be used at greater distances from the body. UQ’s 802.11n Cisco Wireless Access Points fall into the latter category, and are designed to be placed at a distance of 20cm or greater from the human body.
Studies by a range of independent and government experts show absolutely no health risks associated with wireless devices when used in a correct and safe manner.
The World Health Organization states “Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”
It goes on to state “In fact, due to their lower frequency, at similar RF (Radio Frequency) exposure levels, the body absorbs up to five times more of the signal from FM radio and television than from base stations... Further, radio and television broadcast stations have been in operation for the past 50 or more years without any adverse health consequence being established” 1
Closer to home, a 2007 study by Australian company RadHaz Consulting charted EMF (Electromagnetic Field) levels measured in a typical home as a % of the WHO recommendations for general public exposure. Home Wi-Fi measured more than 40,000 times below WHO recommended limits for general public exposure. That’s better than baby monitors, AM and FM radio!


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